Working with broken children, there is not much I haven’t seen. They want to believe there is a rose beneath the frost. They need unconditional love and positive regard in the midst of the storm. They need an anchor, someone they know is not going to go away. Now, make the above children foster kids who are not going to go home to biological parents and dream of permanency in an adoptive home, and the issues get even more complex.
Children were never intended to be on their own before growing up. Families are not intended to break up. Home units are intended to be a safe-haven for every member, but, unfortunately, the ideal often does not happen and children are left needing a place to live. What a miracle foster care is for hurting children! But, as good as foster care can be, it is not the ultimate desire. The apexes of child welfare are the restoration of the family, kinship adoption, or adoption from foster care. While adoption definitely has its challenges, it brings hope and permanency. Of course, not all children in foster care want to be adopted – but many do. All of them, whether wanting to be adopted or not, will look for a safe place to bring their scars and to watch their wounds heal. An adoptive home can give a child a true safe place to heal, reconcile, find hope and redeem their future.
So how about the statistics? At any given time in the U.S., there are as many as 400,000 children in foster care with one fourth of those waiting to be adopted. Most of those 100k will remain in foster care until they are adopted or they age out (18-21 years of age). Twenty thousand kids age out per year in the U.S. Around 50% of those who age out will not have a good job at the age of 24 and 25% of them will experience homelessness within the first two years of aging out. “What most of these young adults want and need is support- mentors and family-type networks of people who will walk through the transitional years and beyond to help them figure out how to simply do life” (TFI).
Enter the adoptive family!
Adoptive families can change the world with unconditional love, patience, commitment and consistency. By bringing a child into your home, you can experience the miracle of healing first hand. Sure, it’s work. Certainly, there are hurdles and roadblocks. But even Jesus took three years to get his group in order! There is nothing better than helping a child come to grips with the past while building a courageous future.
Good adoptive parents are miracle workers and miracle watchers. Just in case you are thinking adopting from foster care I will share some advantages to such an approach:
- Speed of adoption can be much faster than a private or international adoption.
- Cost of adoption is comparatively negligible and opportunities for adoption assistance are available.
- Many who have adopted from foster care previously report feeling well supported through the process.
- Restrictions can be much less than private adoption (Morin).
Yes, there are trials. Yes, you may need to deal with trauma. Yes, the transition may be difficult. However, I think of one who wanted to change the world and it required a cross. But on the backside of the pain was love and glory. Love is greater than pain.
God bless those who have adopted and those who will adopt and God bless those kids who are currently waiting for their forever home – may they soon be found.